Addy VanLochlem of Agassiz swims at Ferny Coombe Pool. Her swimathon attracted the attention of the First Lady of Kenya, who matched Addy’s donation to impoverished communities in her country. (File Photo)

Addy VanLochlem of Agassiz swims at Ferny Coombe Pool. Her swimathon attracted the attention of the First Lady of Kenya, who matched Addy’s donation to impoverished communities in her country. (File Photo)

Kenyan First Lady matches Agassiz swimathon donations

Addy VanLochlem’s donation helped secure 180,000 meals for needy children in Kenya

One local girl’s Swimathon is making even bigger ripples.

Adriana “Addy” VanLochlem’s efforts to help impoverished communities in Kenya recently drew the attention of Margaret Gakuo Keynatta, the First Lady of Kenya, who pledged to match every dollar donated to the cause.

Back on Nov. 9, the GoFundMe page for Addy’s fundraiser received an update after a long period of waiting and necessary bureaucracy. Fundraiser page creator Kim VanLoclhlem said the team behind the swimathon was left wondering what the months-long holdup was.

RELATED: ‘A heart to help others’: Agassiz girl raises $2,400 for poor communities during swimathon

“The funds were delayed, but if they came any sooner, we wouldn’t be reading this amazing news,” Kim wrote before quoting correspondence from Impact Nations, the ministry benefiting from the fundraiser.

“The funds that Adriana has raised are going to multiply!” The email reads. “The First Lady of Kenya is so excited about the feeding program at Metro Church (they are providing a meal to over 5,000 kids every weekend) that she pledged to match, dollar-for-dollar every donation [recieved] for feeding up until Dec. 31.”

The funding bought two shipping containers

full of food, shipped form Norway, enough to feed 5,000 children a meal every weekend for the next four months. With the additional funding, Firs Lady Kenyatta’s contributions will add another two containers, which means Addy’s swimathon helped facilitate more than 160,000 meals to be provided over the course of eight months.

“God is so good,” Kim wrote.

READ ALSO: Aquanauts action

A member of the Agassiz-Harrison Aquanauts Swim Club, Addy swam as many lengths of the Ferny Coombe Pool as she could within an hour to raise funds for impoverished communities in Kenya. She swam 76 lengths, 1.9 kilometres or about a quarter of the way between Harrison Hot Springs and the Agassiz townsite. Donors had the choice of donating a lump sum or per lap swam.

Her original goal was $1,000 but she raised a total of $2,440 as of publication, excluding the contributions from First Lady Kenyatta.

The online fundraiser is now closed.

Impact Nations International Ministries formed in 2005 with an office in Abbotsford. The non-profit helps with a number of efforts around the world, including relief efforts amid disasters, fostering business opportunities to underprivileged areas and compassion programs in prisons, hospitals, health clinics and feeding programs.

Margaret Gakuo Kenyatta is the wife of Kenyan President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, inaugurated in 2013 and currently serving as the country’s fourth president.


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